11/22/63 by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
First off, spoiler alert in this post! Shoo, if you haven't read this yet.
Also, I'd like to apologize that this entry is a few days late. To refresh your memory, I read this as part of a readalong, hosted by my friend Grace. I wish I could place the blame solely on my busy life, but that's not entirely true. A few things have happened of note, namely that I'm house-sitting for my parents and I started a new job today, but my only real reason is procrastination. As it stands, I feel I've already gotten fuzzy on most of the intricacies of the novel, but here goes.
I don't really know where to start. Stephen King truly is a master of the written word. Historical fiction with time travel? I was so hesitant to get excited about this book because I don't really enjoy the horror genre all that much. I'm a sissy, especially when it comes to freak phenomena or the supernatural, unless it's zombies. The world needs more zombies (I think). It's a rarity I will talk up a book to people outside my "reading circle", but this is definitely one of those worthy pieces.
One of the things I was most looking forward to as mentioned in my post about Parts 1-3 was discovering the significance of the Green/Yellow/Black Card Man. This is not revealed until very late in the novel, and boy, was it a doozy. I was not at all expecting to find that these guardians of time (Ack, it was so difficult to resist calling them Time Lords) bear the brunt of each visit to the past in the form of multiple "strings" of time containing each alternate sequence of time. The new installment of the Card Man Jake meets explains that the intense mental strain caused by keeping all these "strings" straight causes extreme cognitive deterioration, and the colored cards act as a sort of barometer for mental health.
I think I was more than a little disappointed that Jake couldn't find a way to have Sadie in the end, but I was certainly impressed by his determination to sacrifice his own happiness for the greater good. I think King's inclusion of the description of Jake researching Sadie's clash with her ex-husband and his subsequent visit to see her old-woman present-day self lent the perfect amount of closure to the reader, and validation for Jake that he made the right choice. I discovered while Googling that King released an alternate ending on his website. I'll let you read it for yourself (and feel free to post your thoughts on this, please!) but I think I prefer the actual ending, hands down.
Also, King's website for the book has two options to view the site: in 1963 form, or in 2011 form. Check them both out at http://112263book.com/.
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